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Poster: AltheaRose Date: May 11, 2013 11:37pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dead without Donna and Keith

I enjoy different aspects of all (well, most) eras, and of course Keith and Donna weren't around until '71. But I agree that what they added was special; something about the sound can be particularly evocative of that time; and in some songs, there is "something missing" without their presence.

For instance, Row Jimmy to me is somehow Very Very 70s. Not in an obvious way (like the disco Dancin); it just has a very super-mellow, earthy feel that seems to be of that time (just post-Woodstock-ish) without being dated. Probably there are a lot of tunes like that in their repertoire if I thought about it. (Others off the bat that seem "of their time" would be Comes a Time, High Time, and Two Souls.) On the whole, if this makes sense, I might associate tunes with an era pesonally (or even a specific place) but tend to feel Dead tunes transcend the times. For instance, UJB is clearly very early 70s, but it doesn't "sound it" precisely to me. If that makes sense.

But in terms of Keith and Donna -- Row Jimmy is one that, to me, never sounds right without Donna. TMNS never sounds right without Donna either. I'm always waiting to hear about the band out on the highway.

I'm sure there are other tunes, too, but those jump out at me as not just benefitting but literally missing something without Donna. Keith is harder to peg, maybe because obviously there always WAS a keyboard player, so it's not as if the keys vanished the way Donna's voice did. He's my favorite keyboard player, but I can't say any tune has jumped out at me post-Keith as lacking something crucial without him; I'd say I preferred what he did with songs compared to Brent, but what Donna added was both distinctly different and predictable, so I'm more likely to "listen for it" and miss it when it's not there.

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Poster: DeadEncore Date: May 12, 2013 5:10am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dead without Donna and Keith

Lots of agreement Althea. There are songs, especially the music never stopped are Donna songs and without her are like Salsa without cilantro. There are many others where her notes embellish the song like adding another layer of complexity which the Dead were all about.
As far as Keith, 73 right now is my go to year. Still mostly a 70's lover anyways, but 73 with it's jazz flavor truly has me captivated. I'm sure that passion will wane a little, but I've always had a soft spot for great keyboard player. With that said, this year was Keith's chance to shine. On many a night in this year he was more in front and had more solo's than any other year I have encountered.
Hopefully, with time I'll come across more dead that gets me excited all over again.

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: May 12, 2013 8:32am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dead without Donna and Keith

I still feel that the thing that suffers, as they went further in to the 80's , was the "average" first set sort of songs . There is incredible stuff even to the end, but so many of the songs, in the later era sound a little perfunctory . Even things like the Jerry Ballads, or "Other One" could sound like Elvis covering his 50's hits, in the jumpsuit era . For me songs like "Ramble on Rose," the cowboy songs, "GDTRFB," "Greatest Story," and your citing of "Row Jimmy" etc, don't feel right, as time goes on . This is as much of the rest of the Dead changing, as it is K & Ds departure . As much as I love the psychedelic stuff, and have learned to love some of the early to mid 80's shows, the band, late 71 > early 79, sound like "good old Grateful Dead" to me .

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: May 14, 2013 11:26am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dead without Donna and Keith

Row Jimmy and TMNS are probably the best examples i can think of, although not the only ones. I think Looks Like Rain sounded best with Donna, which maybe not be saying much as it is not my favorite song or I suspect anyone else's but it is definitely more tolerable with her contribution. I also think the best versions of Cassidy were with Donna.

As for Donna adding something that was both distinctly different and predictable, i think this goes with both the good examples of her contributions as well as the bad. I have to admit that when i hear a post-Donna PITB, i can still "hear" her distinctly different and predictable contribution in my mind's ear. For some reason this does not happen with Scar>Fire.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: May 14, 2013 6:20pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dead without Donna and Keith

Same here. I often "hear" or expect her in PITB but not necessarily S>F. Although in the Donna era Scarlets I do brace for it. Hmmm, perhaps that was the inspiration for those LLR lyrics? :-)